A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

[..] there plunged in all the people who think they can solve a problem they cannot understand by abolishing everything that has contributed to it. We all know these people. If a barber has cut his customer's throat because the girl has changed her partner for a dance or donkey ride on Hampstead Heath, there are always people to protest against the mere institutions that led up to it. This would not have happened if barbers were abolished, or if cutlery were abolished, or if the objection felt by girls to imperfectly grown beards were abolished, or if the girls were abolished, or if heaths and open spaces were abolished, or if dancing were abolished, or if donkeys were abolished. But donkeys, I fear, will never be abolished.
-The Flying Inn (1914)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

It is a great pity that our headlong and hurried Press is always half a century behind the times. The reason is in no way recondite; it is behind the times because it is hurried and headlong. That which is forced to be rapid is specially likely to be trite [...] Upon this very simple fact of human nature- that bustle always means banality- the whole gigantic modern Press, the palladum of our liberties, is built. Leader-writers write the flattest Liberalism or Toryism to feed the impatient printing-machines, just as private persons scribble their dullest and most conventional notes to catch the post. But the principle extents to the theories as well as the expression of them.
-March 26, 1910, Illustrated London News

Monday, February 26, 2018

It is difficult in these days to escape from the topic of politics even by deliberately talking about something else. For there are a considerable number of people who will at once attribute any disaster, from the weather to the Brighton railway smash, to the particular politicians whom they dislike.
-February 19, 1910, Illustrated London News

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Marriage is not a mere chain upon love as the anarchists say; nor is it a mere crown upon love as the sentimentalists say. Marriage is a fact, an actual human relation like that of motherhood which has certain human habits and loyalties, except in a few monstrous cases where it is turned to torture by special insanity and sin. A marriage is neither an ecstasy nor a slavery; it is a commonwealth; it is a separate working and fighting thing like a nation. Kings and diplomatists talk of “forming alliances” when they make weddings; but indeed every wedding is primarily an alliance. The family is a fact even when it is not an agreeable fact, and a man is part of his wife even when he wishes he wasn’t. The twain are one flesh — yes, even when they are not one spirit. Man is duplex. Man is a quadruped.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Daily News", October 23, 1909

We do not need the learned man to teach us the important things.  We all know the important things, though we all violate and neglect them.  Gigantic industry, abysmal knowledge, are needed for the discovery of the tiny things — the things that seem hardly worth the trouble.  Generally speaking, the ordinary man should be content with the terrible secret that men are men — which is another way of saying that they are brothers.
-The Uses of Diversity (1921)

Friday, February 23, 2018

A perfect description of most political debates these days...

There is one little habit of some of the most intelligent modern writers against which I should like to protest. It consists of flatly refusing to state somebody else's opinion as it stands; and consider it on its own merits. The modern writer must always assume that it is a choice between his own extreme opinion and something at the other extreme.
-The Common Man (1950)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Billy prepares sermons and speeches with exceptional thoroughness. A voracious reader, especially of biography, history, and current affairs, he cultivated a nearly photographic memory for the printed word and could assimilate a page swiftly, whether newspaper (subscriber to many) or book. Ruth extends his range, being an even more dedicated bookworm, distilling for him her browsing in C.S. Lewis, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, and much more:poetry, literature, Bible studies, and other areas.
-The Billy Graham Story, Revd. Dr John Charles Pollock (2011)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"...he may be said to have heckled himself for hundreds of pages.".

Now the Schoolman always had two ideas in his head; if they were only the Yes and No of his own proposition. The Schoolman was not only the schoolmaster but also the schoolboy; he examined himself; he cross-examined himself; he may be said to have heckled himself for hundreds of pages. Nobody can read St. Thomas's theology without hearing all the arguments against St. Thomas's theology. Therefore, even when that sort of faith produced what many would call ferocity, it always produced what I mean here by fairness; the almost involuntary intellectual fairness of one who cannot help knowing that the universe is a many-sided thing. That is precisely the temper of Chaucer; and that is what I mean when I say that he got his broad-mindedness from his theology; though it was not what is now generally meant by a broad theology. The essential point is that it was not a simple theology.
-Chaucer (1932)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What had happened to the human imagination, as a whole, was that the whole world was coloured by dangerous and rapidly deteriorating passions; by natural passions becoming unnatural passions. Thus the effect of treating sex as only one innocent natural thing was that every other innocent natural thing became soaked and sodden with sex. For sex cannot be admitted to a mere equality among elementary emotions or experiences like eating and sleeping. The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant. There is something dangerous and disproportionate in its place in human nature, for whatever reason; and it does really need a special purification and dedication. The modern talk about sex being free like any other sense, about the body being beautiful like any tree or flower, is either a description of the Garden of Eden or a piece of thoroughly bad psychology, of which the world grew weary two thousand years ago.
-St. Francis of Assissi (1923)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.
-The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

In all these pictures and painted medieval Bibles or missals there are traces of many fancies and fashions, but there is not even the trace of a trace of this one modern heresy of artistic monotone. There is not the trace of a trace of this idea of the keeping of comedy out of tragedy. The moderns who disbelieve in Christianity treat it much more reverently than these Christians who did believe in Christianity. The wildest joke in Voltaire is not wilder than some of the jokes coloured here by men, meek and humble, in their creed.

To mention one thing out of a thousand, take this. I have seen a picture in which the seven-headed beast of the Apocalypse was included among the animals in Noah's Ark, and duly provided with a seven-headed wife to assist him in propagating that important race to be in time for the Apocalypse. If Voltaire had thought of that, he would certainly have said it. But the restrictions of these men were restrictions of external discipline: they were not like ours, restrictions of mood. It might be a question how far people should be allowed to make jokes about Christianity; but there was no doubt that they should be allowed to feel jokes about it. There was no question of that merely impressional theory that we should look through only one peep-hole at a time. Their souls were at least stereoscopic. They had nothing to do with that pictorial impressionism which means closing one eye. They had nothing to do with that philosophical impressionism which means being half-witted.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Modern education means handing down the customs of the minority, and rooting out the customs of the majority. [...] the poor have imposed on them mere pedantic copies of the prejudices of the remote rich.
-What's Wrong With the World (1910)

Friday, February 16, 2018

It is not self-evident that the tragic phase of life only follows on exceptional folly, and the fallacy was noted some time ago by the Tower of Siloam and the Ash-heap of Job.
-All I Survey (1933)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The advantage of an elementary philosophic habit is that it permits a man, for instance, to understand a statement like this, “Whether there can or can not be exceptions to a process depends on the nature of that process.” The disadvantage of not having it is that a man will turn impatiently even from so simple a truism; and call it metaphysical gibberish.  He will then go off and say: “One can’t have such things in the twentieth century”; which really is gibberish.  Yet the former statement could surely be explained to him in sufficiently simple terms.  If a man sees a river run downhill day after day and year after year, he is justified in reckoning, we might say in betting, that it will do so till he dies.  But he is not justified in saying that it cannot run uphill, until he really knows why it runs downhill.  To say it does so by gravitation answers the physical but not the philosophical question.  It only repeats that there is a repetition; it does not touch the deeper question of whether that repetition could be altered by anything outside it.  And that depends on whether there is anything outside it.  For instance, suppose that a man had only seen the river in a dream.  He might have seen it in a hundred dreams, always repeating itself and always running downhill.  But that would not prevent the hundredth dream being different and the river climbing the mountain; because the dream is a dream, and there is something outside it.  Mere repetition does not prove reality or inevitability.  We must know the nature of the thing and the cause of the repetition.  If the nature of the thing is a Creation, and the cause of the thing a Creator, in other words if the repetition itself is only the repetition of something willed by a person, then it is not impossible for the same person to will a different thing.  If a man is a fool for believing in a Creator, then he is a fool for believing in a miracle; but not otherwise.  Otherwise, he is simply a philosopher who is consistent in his philosophy.

A modern man is quite free to choose either philosophy.  But what is actually the matter with the modern man is that he does not know even his own philosophy; but only his own phraseology.  He can only answer the next spiritual message produced by a spiritualist, or the next cure attested by doctors at Lourdes, by repeating what are generally nothing but phrases; or are, at their best, prejudices.
-The Common Man (1950)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

[A piece that Chesterton wrote for his wife, before they were married]

To My Lady

God made you very carefully,
He set a star apart for it,
He stained it green and gold with fields
And aureoled it with sunshine,
He peopled it with kings, peoples, republics,
And so made you very, very carefully.
All nature is God's book, filled with his rough sketches for you.

[quoted in Wisdom and Innocence by Joseph Pearce, pp. 37-38]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Chesterton prophesying cable news shouting matches...

[...] he who has the impatience to interrupt the words of another seldom has the patience rationally to select his own.
-The Judgment of Dr. Johnson (1927)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Chesterton prophesying Autocorrect...

[...] the very worst sort of mistakes are those that are not mistakes, but the corrections of mistakes. The worst howlers come from correctness and not from carelessness.
-November 3, 1928, Illustrated London News

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I have always understood that charity meant a kind and reverent handling of the actions of sinners, an allowance for their temptations, an unconquerable hope for their souls. I do not quite understand what charity can have to do with the denying of the existence of the sin. If you admit that Lord Foodle or Mr. Nathan Boodle have committed crimes; then I will show them charity and enough to melt a mad elephant. But if you say they have not, then either you are not a charitable man, but an ordinary normal liar, or else they are blameless people and not objects of charity at all. Charity does not hide sins. Charity exposes sins, but exposes also their excuses. Charity does not ask us to flatter the tyrant in his strength. Charity asks us to pity the tyrant in his weakness. Charity has for its business the searching out of the deepest and darkest part of a man, which is often also the most lovable; charity finds those secret and perverse ideals of which the criminal himself will not speak, and reveals the strange extenuations which he hides more cravenly than his crimes.
-August 5, 1905, Daily News

Saturday, February 10, 2018

In the Morning Post only this morning I see a solemn leading article blaming a politician for attacking an editor. Seeing that editors have no other purpose on this planet except to attack politicians, I cannot very clearly see where the wickedness comes in. Is an editor a soldier, or is he only a spy? The Morning Post speaks of the "courage" of the Spectator. Really, with the kindest will in the world, I do not think it requires much "courage" to maintain any of the opinions of the Spectator. But, according to the Morning Post, it must be positively cowardly; for it is free to attack statesmen because they have no right of reply.
-November 12, 1910, Illustrated London News

Friday, February 9, 2018

"...to be a failure may be one step to being a saint."

[...] Dickens shows none of that dreary submission to the environment of the irrevocable that had for an instant lain on him like a cloud. On this occasion he sees with the old heroic clarity that to be a failure may be one step to being a saint. On the third day he rose again from the dead.
-Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens (1911)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

All men are ordinary men. The extraordinary men are those who know it.
-The Uses of Diversity (1921)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

We must not hate humanity, or despise humanity, or refuse to help humanity; but we must not trust humanity; in the sense of trusting a trend in human nature which cannot turn back to bad things. “Put not your trust in princes; nor in any child of man.” That is the precise point of this very practical sort of politics. Be a Royalist if you like (and there is a vast amount to be said, and a vast amount being said, just now, for more personal and responsible rule); try a Monarchy if you think it will be better; but do not trust a Monarchy, in the sense of expecting that a monarch will be anything but a man. Be a Democrat if you like (and I shall always think it the most generous and the most fundamentally Christian ideal in politics); express your sense of human dignity in manhood suffrage or any other form of equality; but put not your trust in manhood suffrage or in any child of man. There is one little defect about Man, the image of God, the wonder of the world and the paragon of animals; that he is not to be trusted. If you identify him with some ideal, which you choose to think is his inmost nature or his only goal, the day will come when he will suddenly seem to you a traitor.
-The Well and the Shallows (1935)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The new method of journalism is to offer so many comments or, at least, secondary circumstances that there is actually no room left for the original facts.
-November 6, 1909, Illustrated London News
[H/T G.K. Chesterton Facebook page]

Monday, February 5, 2018

"The man whom I accuse has no right merely to say that I insult him; I do not insult, I accuse."

Everyone discusses whether such a statement is an insult; no one whether it is a truth. But in any matter of public good, insult is irrelevancy. If a thing is false it is not an insult; it is a lie. If it is true it is not an insult; it is an exposure. If I call out in a crowd, 'This man has picked my pocket', I am not to be objected to merely because I am noisy. I am either a slanderer or I am a public servant. In neither case am I a mere rioter. The man whom I accuse has no right merely to say that I insult him; I do not insult, I accuse.
-February 24, 1906, Daily News

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Neil Gorsuch quotes GKC

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch recently quoted GKC. (Well, technically, he alluded to a passage from him, anyway).
But in a dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch said Ginsberg had gotten the issues all wrong in the case. He was joined in dissent by justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

Borrowing from the English writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton, Gorsush  [sic] said there’s a danger in clearing away “a fence just because we cannot see its point.”

“Even if a fence doesn’t seem to have a reason, sometimes all that means is we need to look more carefully for the reason it was built in the first place,” he said. “The same might be said about the law before us.”

To Gorsush [sic] what Ginsburg and her colleagues in the majority had done was clear away a traditional rule cause they mistakenly overlooked the original reasons for it [...]

Gorush [sic] concluded by accusing the majority of clearing away a fence “that once marked a basic boundary between federal and state power.

“Maybe it wasn’t the most vital fence and maybe we’ve just simply forgotten why this particular fence was built in the first place. But maybe, too, we’ve forgotten because we’ve wandered so far from the idea of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers that we’ve begun to lose sight of what it looked like in the first place,” Gorsuch wrote.

And here is the passage in GKC's writing to which he alludes.
The point is not that if we go on as we are we shall collide with some frightful fate. The point is rather that unless we make a magnificent effort, our frightful fate will be- to go on as we are.
-February 24, 1906, Daily News

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The soldier in all ages has been regarded as a man in so very extraordinary a position that a particular glory surrounded him because he had to endure it. For a desperate need of the Commonwealth he is a sort of splendid slave. The nation which takes away from him the most ordinary human rights tries to give him as some sort of compensation the military legend. Take that away, and he would be strictly a slave.
-April 2, 1904, Daily News

Friday, February 2, 2018

People have got into their heads an extraordinary idea that English public-school boys and English youth generally are taught to tell the truth. They are taught absolutely nothing of the kind. At no English public school is it even suggested, except by accident, that it is a man’s duty to tell the truth. What is suggested is something entirely different: that it is a man’s duty not to tell lies. So completely does this mistake soak through all civilisation that we hardly ever think even of the difference between the two things. When we say to a child, “You must tell the truth,” we do merely mean that he must refrain from verbal inaccuracies. But the thing we never teach at all is the general duty of telling the truth, of giving a complete and fair picture of anything we are talking about, of not misrepresenting, not evading, not suppressing, not using plausible arguments that we know to be unfair, not selecting unscrupulously to prove an ex parte case, not telling all the nice stories about the Scotch, and all the nasty stories about the Irish, not pretending to be disinterested when you are really angry, not pretending to be angry when you are really only avaricious. The one thing that is never taught by any chance in the atmosphere of public schools is exactly that—that there is a whole truth of things, and that in knowing it and speaking it we are happy.
-All Things Considered (1908)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Philanthropists too frequently forget that pity is quite a different thing from sympathy; for sympathy means suffering with others and not merely being sorry that they suffer. If the strong brotherhood of men is to abide, if they are not to break up into groups alarmingly like different species, we must keep this community of tastes in giver and received. We must not only share our bread, but share our hunger.
-The Glass Walking-Stick (1955)